Target 15: The science base, information, training, awareness, understanding and technologies relating to migratory species, their habitats and migration systems, their value, functioning, status and trends, and the consequences of their loss, are improved, widely shared and transferred, and effectively applied.


Aquatic Species


►    The Memorandum of Understanding for the conservation of cetaceans and their habitats in the Pacific Islands Region: Whale And Dolphin Action Plan 2013-2017  includes:

Theme 3 - Threat Reduction:

Objective 1 - Minimize the impacts of the major hazards listed below on whale and dolphin populations in the Pacific Islands region:

3.1) Collaborate to improve data and share information on fisheries / cetaceans interactions, and successful and unsuccessful tactics for mitigation.

Theme 7 - Research and Monitoring:

7.1) Establish abundance/distribution of all cetaceans in the Pacific Islands region.

7.2) Estimate key demographic parameters to help diagnose trends.

7.3) Undertake research and monitoring to identify hazards and develop hazard mitigation strategies.

7.4) Improve data collection and database management systems.

7.5) Undertake comprehensive habitat mapping.

7.6) Improve information received on stranding events in the Pacific Island Region.

►    The Conservation and Management Plan of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation and Management of Marine Turtles and their Habitats of the Indian Ocean and South-East Asia (IOSEA Marine Turtle MoU) includes:

Objective 1 - Reduce direct and indirect causes of marine turtle mortality:

1.1.a) Collate and organise existing data on threats to marine turtle populations;

1.1.b) Establish baseline data collection and monitoring programmes to gather information on the nature and magnitude of threats;

1.1.c) Determine those populations affected by traditional and direct harvest, incidental capture in fisheries, and other sources of mortality; and

1.3.a) Conduct socio-economic studies among communities that interact with marine turtles and their habitats.

Objective 2 - Protect, conserve and rehabilitate marine turtle habitats:

2.1.a) Identify areas of critical habitat such as migratory corridors, nesting beaches, inter-nesting and feeding areas.

Objective 3 - Improve understanding of marine turtle ecology and populations through research, monitoring and information exchange:

3.1.a) Conduct baseline studies or gather secondary information on marine turtle populations and their habitats.

3.1.b) Initiate and/or continue long-term monitoring of priority marine turtle populations in order to assess conservation status.

3.1.c) Characterise genetic identity of marine turtle populations.

3.1.d) Identify migratory routes through the use of tagging, genetic studies and/or satellite tracking.

3.1.e) Carry out studies on marine turtle population dynamics and survival rates.

3.1.f) Conduct research on the frequency and pathology of diseases of marine turtles.

3.2.a) Identify and include priority research and monitoring needs in regional and sub-regional action plans.

3.2.b) Conduct collaborative studies and monitoring on genetic identity, conservation status, migrations, and other biological and ecological aspects of marine turtles.

3.3.c) Use research results to improve management, mitigate threats and assess the efficacy of conservation activities (e.g. hatchery management practices, habitat loss, etc).

3.4.a) Standardise methods and levels of data collection and adopt or develop an agreed set of protocols for inter alia monitoring of nesting beaches, feeding ground studies, genetic sampling, and collection of mortality data.

3.4.b) Determine the most appropriate methods for information dissemination.

3.4.c) Exchange at regular intervals scientific and technical information and expertise among nations, scientific institutions, non-governmental and international organisations, in order to develop and implement best practice approaches to conservation of marine turtles and their habitats.

3.4.d) Disseminate traditional knowledge on marine turtles and their habitats for conservation and management.

3.4.e) Compile on a regular basis data on marine turtle populations of regional interest.

►    The Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation and Management of Dugongs (Dugon dugong) and their Habitats throughout their Range (Dugong MoU) includes:

Objective 2 – Improve our understanding of dugong through research and monitoring:

2.1) Determine the distribution and abundance of dugong populations to provide a base for future conservation efforts and actions.

2.2) Conduct research and monitoring into dugong.

2.3) Collect and analyse data that supports the identification of sources of mortality, the mitigation of threats and improved approaches to conservation practices.

Objective 3 – Protect, conserve and manage habitats for dugong:

3.1) Identify and map areas of important dugong habitat such as sea grass beds.

Objective 4 – Improve our understanding of dugong habitats through research and monitoring:

4.1) Conduct research into and monitoring of important dugong habitats.

►    The Conservation and Management Plan for Marine Turtles of the Atlantic coast of Africa includes:

Objective 3 - Improve our knowledge of marine turtle populations and ecology through research, monitoring, and information exchange:

3.1) Conduct studies on marine turtles and their habitats.

3.4.4) Exchange, at regular intervals, scientific and technical information and expertise among nations, scientific institutions, and national and international NGOs to develop and use approaches based on the best practices for the conservation of marine turtles and their habitats.

►    The MoU concerning the conservation of the Manatee and small cetaceans of Western Africa and Macaronesia: Action Plan for the conservation of small cetaceans of Western Africa and Macaronesia (WAAM) includes:

Objective 5 - Research and Monitoring:

5.1) Compile overview of existing knowledge, national species lists, specimen collections, research centres and protected areas.

5.2) Facilitate coordinated data collection to improve knowledge of abundance, distribution, migration routes, feeding and breeding areas and conservation status of small cetaceans.

5.3) Improve understanding of the causes, scope and impacts of by-catch.

5.4) Improve information received on stranding events in the western African Region.

5.5) Identify significance of and priorities for toxicological and pathological research.

5.6) Improve understanding of the effects of global environmental change on small cetaceans.

5.7) Improve understanding of un-quantified but potential threats to small cetaceans, including ship strikes, entanglement in lost fishing gear, acoustic or seismic disturbance or disease.

►     The ASCOBANS Recovery Plan for Baltic Harbour Porpoises includes:

Theme 4 - Recovery Recommendations:

Objective 4 - Public Awareness:

4.4.1) Develop a comprehensive public awareness campaign, based on the elements outlined in the plan.

5) Parties are requested to provide assistance to maintain an interactive Baltic harbour porpoise website for the storage of GIS-based porpoise observation data. This web page should incorporate other existing possibilities to report sightings of harbour porpoises. The page should be designed for use throughout the Baltic region. This website may provide further opportunities for collaboration with relevant bodies such as HELCOM.

►    The ASCOBANS Conservation Plan for Harbour Porpoises (Phocoena phocoena L.) in the North Sea  includes:

Objective 12 - Collection and archiving of data on anthropogenic activities and development of a GIS:

12.1) To collect fundamental information on anthropogenic activities that may affect harbour porpoises in the region.

12.2) To provide information relevant to all actual and potential threats.

12.3) To obtain data on relevant anthropogenic activities in the North Sea over time in a format suitable for incorporating into a GIS (along with data from Action 7).

12.4) To review available sources of data on anthropogenic activities and determine their suitability for incorporation into a database or meta-database and GIS.

12.5) To identify information important gaps and possible ways to fill them.

►    The ASCOBANS Conservation Plan for the Harbour Porpoise population in the Western Baltic, the Belt Sea and the Kattegat includes:

Objective 4 - Monitoring the status of the population:

7) Estimate trends in abundance of harbour porpoises in the Western Baltic, the Belt Sea and the Kattegat:

· Conduct synoptic absolute abundance surveys regularly.

· Identify a survey interval based on power analysis in relation to effort and statistical uncertainty.

· The surveys should be coordinated among Denmark, Germany and Sweden.The method and timing of the surveys should be comparable to previous SCANS surveys.

8) Monitor population health status, contaminant load and causes of mortality:

· Collection of a sufficient number of stranded and/or bycaught harbour porpoises annually in each country: Denmark, Germany and Sweden.

· Conduct necropsies and examine cause of death, diseases, pollutant level and fitness using standard protocols.

►    The Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks; Conservation Plan includes:

Objective 2 - Information exchange:

2.4) Regularly exchange scientific and technical information and expertise among: national governments; scientific institutions; non-governmental organizations and civil society; international organizations; and the private sector in order to develop and implement best practice approaches to the conservation of sharks and their habitats.

2.6) Disseminate traditional knowledge on sharks and their habitats.

Objective 12 - Awareness raising:

12.1) Increase knowledge of the ecosystem services provided by sharks and knowledge about sharks in their marine environment.


Terrestrial Species


►    The Action Plan concerning Conservation and Restoration of the Bukhara Deer includes:

Objective 3 - Enhance international co-operation:

3.1) Improve exchange of information and technical expertise.


Avian Species


►    The Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia (Raptors MoU) includes:

8.h) To this end, the Signatories will endeavour to encourage research into the biology and ecology of birds of prey, including the harmonization of research and monitoring methods and, where appropriate, the establishment of joint or cooperative research and monitoring programmes.

8.l) To this end, the Signatories will endeavour to cooperate with a view to assisting each other to implement this Memorandum of Understanding, particularly in the areas of research and monitoring.

►    The MoU on the Ruddy Headed Goose includes:

5) Calls for the facilitation of scientific, technical and legal information necessary to coordinate conservation measures.

►    The Action Plan for the conservation of southern South American migratory grassland bird species and their habitats, adopted within the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Southern South American Migratory Grassland Bird Species and their Habitats includes:

Objective 6 - To strengthen international cooperation among the countries party to the Memorandum of Understanding:

13.1) To generate an interactive system for information sharing and to systematize monitoring of migratory species.


Note:  CMS Family Environmental Impact Assessment Guidelines for marine noise-generating activities ( are under development, to be presented for adoption to ASCOBANS MOP8, ACCOBAMS MOP6 and CMS COP12; and they will contribute to implementation actions towards this target.


Anthropogenic Impact


►    The Resolution 11.26 Programme of Work on Climate Change and Migratory Species includes:

3) Requests the Scientific Council and the Working Group on Climate Change to promote work to address key gaps in knowledge and future research directions, in particular through the analysis of existing long-term and large-scale datasets.

Measures -Vulnerability assessment:

· Identify and promote a standardized methodology for evaluating species’ vulnerability to climate change that includes the whole life-cycle of the species concerned. This may require the development and communication of new tools as appropriate.

Measures - Monitoring and research:

· Undertake research on the status, trends, distribution and ecology of migratory species. This would include identifying knowledge gaps and may require the use and refinement of existing technologies and tools (e.g. remote sensing), the development of new ones, promotion of citizen science, and coordination / knowledge exchange to improve capacity.

· Develop an understanding of migratory routes, how they are changing (e.g. using existing recoveries of ringed birds and new tracking technologies) and the connectivity between populations (e.g. using genetic approaches) to identify key sites, locations and appropriate management units for particular species

Measures - Knowledge exchange and capacity-building:

Commission technical reviews and best-practice guidelines and encourage the publishing, sharing and distribution of periodic scientific reviews on the following topics:

o The impacts of climate change on migratory species;

o The potential for conservation management to increase the resistance, resilience and adaptation of migratory species populations to climate change; and

o The impacts of anthropogenic climate change adaptation and mitigation on migratory species.

►    The Resolution 10.19 Migratory Species Conservation in the Light of Climate Change includes:

5) Requests Parties and the Scientific Council, and encourages the scientific community, IUCN and other relevant organizations to:

5.a) Identify and promote a standardized methodology for evaluating the susceptibility of species to climate change;

7) Urges Parties and Signatories to CMS instruments to develop and implement monitoring regimes that are adequate for distinguishing true declines in populations from transboundary range shifts and for analyzing the impact of climate change on migratory species, inter alia through the following measures:

7.a) Identifying and carrying out research on the interactions of climate change and migratory species, including the impact on habitats and local communities dependent on the ecosystem services provided by these species;

7.b) Ensuring that monitoring is maintained in the long term, using comparative methodologies;

7.c) Communicating and sharing monitoring results regularly with neighbouring and other range states; and

7.d) Continuing to identify indicator species as a proxy for wider migratory species assemblages, habitats and ecosystems, following on from preliminary work presented at COP9 (UNEP/CMS/Inf.9.22), with particular emphasis on finding indicators for species that are data deficient or otherwise difficult to monitor.